Thursday, July 28, 2011

Beyond The Pasta by Mark Leslie

Italy in Books - Reading Challenge 2011

The July post with a list of books that the other people taking part are reading this month has already been posted. July Reviews
Beyond The Pasta is so much more than just another Italian cookery book as besides providing great recipes Mark writes a diary about his trip to Italy to learn authentic Italian cooking. The added wow factor for me was not just that it is set in Italy but in our region of Viterbo. I loved all the local recipes, some of which I had heard of but others were new ones. I shall definitely be getting my husband to try these out for us, as he is the chef in our household. Mark’s diary of his time here in Viterbo was absolutely fascinating, particularly as we know and love the places he visited. It was  interesting to read his take on places that we are very familiar with. As for instance his impression of Marta, as a place with a long line of hotels lining the lakefront. Sorry Mark, but first impressions were deceptive, there is only one hotel along the stretch he wrote about. In fact at the time of writing there was only one hotel in the whole of  Marta and that was ‘Otello’s’, attached to the restaurant he visited, one of our favourites. He was right about the restaurants though as there are three in a row just in that stretch of lake frontage. I guess it must have just looked impressive.

Besides being an account of the everyday experiences of his month in Viterbo immersed in Italian culture,both language and cuisine, it is also as I already mentioned a cookery book, a record of Nonna’s amazing sounding recipes. I have no intention of sharing any of them here with you as I have yet to discover my favourites. You can discover some of them by visiting the links below.
It is with thanks to Michelle at Bleeding Espresso and her review that I learnt of the existence of this book.  It was her review that convinced me I had to have a copy of my own.  Maybe my review will tempt some of you to also buy a copy! Having said that it will be no surprise that I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves Italy and all things Italian.
I hope one day that Mark will be back in Marta so that he can autograph his book for me!
Mark Leslie
Do spare a few minutes to watch this video.
Uploaded by 334mdl on Jul 23, 2010
Here is Nonna~ the grandmother of the family Mark Leslie lived with in Viterbo, Italy. She is the central character in his book "Beyond the Pasta: Recipes, Language & Life with an Italian Family" which was released on September 1, 2010, by Gemelli Press. Please visit for more details. In this clip, Nonna is telling a story about her mother--you can truly see her sense of humour as she tells the story. She made him laugh every day while he was there...and she will make you laugh in the book, too!
Information for this post is with thanks to the following websites.
YouTube - Mark LeslieWhere you will find a selection of great videos from Mark publicising his book.
Beyond The Pasta - Mark Leslie's Official Website
Beyond The Pasta - Facebook Page

I also post these ‘Italy in Books’ reviews on my other blog
News From Italy


  1. This review certainly makes me want to read the book. The video is a delight! Wish my ears could comprehend Italian as quickly as Nonna speaks it. I am more at the "una parola alla volta!" Can't find it in any of my public libraries so I will have to save my pennies! Thanks.

  2. Sounds like a lovely book! I am absolutely useless when it comes to cooking, but I know someone who will love this book.

  3. Patricia and Misha Thanks for your comments, an idea for Christmas maybe!

  4. Nonna rocks! :D Awesome post. I am stopping by to get caught-up on your blog.

    Ricki Jill

  5. Ricki Jill@ She certainly does, I do hope this is a title you will be keeping an eye open for.

  6. I do not know italian but i feel her vivaciousness as she speaks. Would love to read the book! Till then, i am following them on Facbook!

    Thanks Lindy, Your reviews are refreshing as always

  7. Divenita@ I am thrilled to hear that you are now following Mark's page on FB. I hope you will mention there how you came to do so. :)

  8. Linda,Thanks for such a great review. This looks a great book, one I am definitely adding to my next Amazon order.

    1. Hi Julie. I am delighted that you are so interested in this one, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It is so much more than just another cookery book.


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